So once all the roadside puppies were adopted and things were back to normal, Nellie still didn’t have a home.
She was my dad’s dog and she was drawn to him, but she still headed home as a foster.
After losing Daisy, the entire family was heartbroken. It was declared that there would be no more dogs taking up permanent residence in my parents’ house, although they doled out loads of love and presents on Gambit. My dad even referred to Gambit as “my dog” for nearly a year.
Despite the “no more dogs” rule, Dad wanted Nellie, but he had given up on being able to have her. I wanted more than anything to give him Nellie for Christmas, since they would be coming to visit then, but giving a dog as a present without 100% commitment from the recipient is a poor idea for many reasons.
Getting another dog wasn’t ideal. It’s a lifetime commitment of time, money, the potential for large vet bills, and training. If a medical issue arises in the family, it can make it difficult or even impossible to keep a dog that needs a lot of exercise. Of course, in that case, I’d absolutely be willing to help with Nellie for any length of time necessary.
Not to mention that my parents had been able to go on weekend trips lately and dog ownership makes traveling more difficult, since my family tried kenneling a dog once in the early 90’s and opted never to repeat that. Instead, the family dog joined us when possible. If a plane was involved, that meant a trusted friend would be hired to pet sit.
But my sister, my husband and I knew that all the obstacles of having a dog would be worth it to my dad if that dog was Nellie. We never intended to find Dad’s dog, but once it happened we couldn’t deny it. And we knew that Mom loved dogs and would enjoy having another dog, but she just didn’t want to go through that heartbreak again.
After several weeks of my sister and I begging and making the case for Nellie and a declaration of “She is my dog!” from Dad, Mom agreed that Dad could have his dog.
Because all those years of love, companionship and joy – they’re worth those years of heartbreak.